Craig David Calls Out Leigh Francis’ ‘Racist’ Bo’ Selecta! TV Show For ‘Normalising Bullying’
Craig David and Leigh Francis (Photo: Getty)
Craig David has accused Leigh Francis of “normalising bullying” with his “racist” impression of him on Bo’ Selecta!.
The comic – also known as Keith Lemon – mocked the Fill Me In singer and other celebrities on his Bo’ Selecta! sketch show, which ran from 2002 to 2009.
Other stars who were ridiculed included Michael Jackson, Trisha Goddard, Mel B, David Blaine, David Beckham and Kelly Osbourne.
In 2020, the Celebrity Juice host apologised for his depictions, which Craig has now branded as “insincere” in an interview with The Times.
“People would shout at me on the street and I felt the same feeling I had when I was bullied at school,” Craig told the newspaper.
“Leigh Francis had normalised bullying by making it comedy.”
He added: “When he put blackface on, that was being racist.”
(Photo: Venla Shalin via Getty Images)
Referring to Leigh’s 2020 apology, Craig said: “We can all apologise when on the back foot. The moment of expressing his apology seemed very coincidentally timed.
“Has he reached out to any of the people he did on his show? He hasn’t reached out to me. Has he gone to communities to talk about bullying? Racism? And to be educated? You can only ask him.
“All I’ve seen since his apology is people still tweeting him thinking Bo’ Selecta! is fun and the tone of his response being very much still, ‘I’m the funny guy here’. That he still plays it like a joke after his apology tells me everything.”
Craig said Leigh’s depiction of him on Bo’ Selecta had “sent him to a dark place” and affected his mental health.
Trisha Goddard also spoke out about Leigh’s caricature of her on the show, accusing him of perpetuating Black stereotypes and claimed her children were bullied in school over the portrayal of their famous mum.
In a video shared on social media in 2020, Leigh said: “Back in 2002, I did a show called Bo’ Selecta!, I portrayed many Black people. Back then I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything – I’m not going to blame other people.
“I’ve been talking to some people. I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.
“I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Leigh Francis’ reps for comment.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.